The theme of my lifting life of late has been balance. Move the weight with balanced, solid effort. Use both shoulders with balanced, equal range of motion. Keep the bar balanced and unmoving on my back. Balance working out with the demands of a new semester of teaching and course-taking and work-producing. Balance as I bumble between my bed and the bathroom in the morning. Balance the level of hydration necessary to keep my hair from turning into a massive ball of frizz when it’s raining, like today, and I have to go lift, and I just need my stupid hair to stay in place while I’m lifting and god damnit all the little frizzies are flying everywhere and by the end of my workout I’m going to look like a cross between a Pomeranian and the Bride of Frankenstein.
Some things I balance far better than others. I definitely fail with my hair, particularly on days when nature apparently has a vendetta against me for not doing a very good job with recycling. Listen, the recycling system in this city sucks, I have my limits. The Earth is doomed anyway.
I semi-fail with balancing the bar on my back while squatting during recent squat sessions. It’s an issue that stems from, believe it or not, the manner in which I grip the bar and allow or do not allow my left and right wrist to turn under. THIS issue actually stems from how well I’m able to maintain an extremely strong, tight upper back. The closer one lifts near one’s max weight on squat, the more the aforementioned issue grows in importance. If I can’t keep my shoulder blades locked together, I can’t keep the bar glued into my back. When I can’t keep the bar glued into my back, 160 or so pounds start to slide one way or the other (on me, given my particular imbalances, this is towards the right). My wrists, particularly my right wrist, shift to account for the bar’s shift. Everything starts getting more and more out of place as I tire during a squat set and this is how the bar becomes unbalanced. Do I have to focus on keep my right wrist straight to prevent this chain of events? Yes. Do I, more importantly, have to focus on maintaining tightness as I ascend out of the bottom of the hole? YES. God damnit, Janis. Equilibriate or fail.
In bodybuilding, symmetry of muscle development is crucially important and judged to minute levels. I’m not a bodybuilder, but to my eye, my physique is relatively balanced in development at the moment. Balanced lifting promotes this state of physique, and as long as I continue to try to correct my asymmetries, particularly the one described above, I will remain a non-mutant-looking example of a human being.
That said, here is a picture of some muscles I’m developing as a particular consequence of powerlifting, most particularly because of heavy deadlifting:
See those kind of horizontal-ish lines running along my back near waist-level? That means my back is developing! Look at the little muscles grow! Awwww.
I’m going to attempt to do better with posting more often in the near future. The semester started and my internet time was the first casualty.